ASRock X58 SuperComputer
Initially when we began testing out this motherboard we could not get far with Linux. When booting the Ubuntu 9.04 or Ubuntu 8.10 LiveCDs the startup process would crash and we would be dropped down to BusyBox. With the Fedora 10 and 11 DVD installers, the disk controller could not be detected. During this time we had also tried out various BIOS options such as toggling AHCI and disabling some other features, but we were still blocked by these problems. The disk problems were ultimately solved by upgrading the BIOS to the latest available release (1.80) and then using a USB installation mechanism. The Linux distributions would still not work properly with the IDE DVD drive but when using an external USB 2.0 drive and a USB flash drive copy of Ubuntu, the system would fully boot and we could proceed to install Linux.
After that, we initially had problems with the network controllers not being detected, but once switching to the very latest Fedora 11 and Ubuntu 9.04 development snapshots, both Gigabit Ethernet controllers began working. With that problem cleared up, Linux was running nicely on the ASRock X58 SuperComputer. To sum it up, if you are using a brand new Linux release (such as Ubuntu 9.04) and an updated BIOS, you should not have problems with this Intel X58 motherboard.
We have already published a number of Intel Core i7 benchmarks with the ASRock X58 SuperComputer. These ASRock results can be found in our Intel Core i7 On Linux article. Overall we are pleased with the performance of the ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard. At the same time we are very pleased with the overclocking potential of this motherboard. Using the EZ Overclocking we had no problems hitting 3.60GHz with an Intel Core i7 920, which by default runs at 2.66GHz. We could have pushed for a higher overclock, and we did, but we then were running into thermal issues with the stock cooler.
What does the ASRock X58 SuperComputer cost? About $300 USD. Yes, this is quite expensive in general, but for X58 motherboards it is positioned quite well. There are several Intel X58 motherboards positioned within the $200 price range, including some from ASUS and Gigabyte, but none with the number of features found on the X58 SuperComputer. The higher-end X58 motherboards go easily past $300 USD. The ASRock X58 SuperComputer provides six DDR3 slots, great overclocking capabilities, four PCI Express x16 slots, NVIDIA SLI and ATI CrossFire compatibility, Japanese conductive polymer capacitors, and supports eSATA. The ASRock X58 SuperComputer is friendly with Linux permitting the BIOS is upgraded and you are using a newer distribution release from this year.
Detailed pricing information on Intel X58 motherboards can be found at TestFreaks.com.
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